Abstract:Minoru Yamasaki was quite an unlucky architect. Besides the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center, he also designed the Pruitt-Igoe social housing project in St. Louis. Built in 1954, the modernist housing block estate had become completely devastated by its inhabitants in a few years, and became a nest of crime. These housing blocks were so bad that they were scheduled for demolition in 1972. It is not known whether it was the fault of bad architecture or the social situation in the United States at that time, or maybe the huge errors committed by the authorities of St. Louis. However, many believe that this was the final defeat of modernist urbanism.
Abstract:This paper contains an analysis of the specific characteristics of underground spaces inhabited by people, starting from prehistory, as well as the changes in the relationship between living underground and aboveground brought on by the emergence of the industrial city of the 19th and 20th centuries. Against this backdrop, the author discusses architectural measures and details that improve the functional quality of underground space.
Abstract:Leon Krier says that the city is made up of streets and squares, blocks and monumental buildings. The location of the house is unspecified. Does the lack of seriousness and fulfilling everyday usability exclude it from the world of monumental architecture? Ricardo Bofill denies it – he proposes an apartment in the palace, in an urban monument on the outskirts of the metropolis. It is in his residential buildings that one can find postmodern attempts to join the fragmented city and artistic search for new sources of architecture, which, like a literary travesty, lead to surprising results. Perhaps that is why Charles Jencks calls the architecture of these buildings a wonderful paradox.
Abstract:Beauty, utility, durability – these are the immanent features of good architecture and should also be the distinguishing qualities of every residential building. But do beauty and utility remain along with the passing of time? Do the performance characteristics pass?
Performance characteristics are an indicator of both the technical as well as aesthetic state of buildings. Aesthetic needs are in disagreement with the merciless aging process. The beauty of a city is formed not only by the original forms of new residential buildings, but also by existing tenement housing; thus preserving their aesthetics becomes a necessity.
Abstract:The rebuilding of the complex of the foreman’s mansion and the smithy on Zamkowa Street in Kielce for the needs of The Puppet and Actor Theatre “Winnie” was the subject of an architectural competition conducted in 2015. The analysis of the adequacy to serve as a theatre was not favourable for existing buildings. The question of the meaning of these buildings as objects that are under conservation protection looked much better. Considerations related to their importance as urban artefacts, as Aldo Rossi would call them, led to some interesting conclusions. The point of the reconstruction does not lie in the relevance or congruence of the building to the new function. The value lies the historic structure itself, but primarily in its history and the place in the city. These three aspects of urban artefacts should constitute the basis of any transformation of this space. The buildings themselves are heavily degraded by several reconstructions, and only because of their history and place in which they were built are they a part of the historic complex of the castle hill. The foreman mansion and the smithy for almost two centuries served as a prison. In the days of the Nazi occupation the south area by the walls was to be used as a place of executions. The intervention seemingly insignificant for the architectural form that is the change to the theatre does not have to remain here in the shade. A significant historical value may be supplemented by the theatre, or even replaced by a cultural value that the theatre supports. Therefore, this value can be built through the form of the building – as an urban artefact on the one hand and through the idea of community expressed by the theatre space. Kozień Architects recognized the value of the existing historical site in conjunction with the introduced cultural value as an appropriate basis for the architectural concept.
Abstract:Home – a space from our childhood situated between a few walls, a place of sentimental returns, a central point on our mental map of places painted with emotions. Home is also a house, an architecture expressed by its width, height, cubature, a detail, a game of light and shadow. While we create our physical space to inhabit, we fill it in with individual traits, which make us feel at home. The awareness of our uniqueness shapes our personal identity. In the recent years, we have been chasing jobs, at the same time changing places that we live in. In various places on the Earth, we have been creating “our home” for a moment, for a year or longer. Hundreds of immigrants from different cultural regions have been looking for their new home in Europe. Is the European identity based on common cultural heritage able to overcome the existing situation resulting from the global politics? Or Europe, as we have known it so far, is at the end of its journey?
Abstract:Alchemy is “the art of creating something that has a mysterious character”. In the case of architecture, it can refer to the creator’s use of aesthetic means of expression in such a way as to create a work evoking a specific mood and emotions that intrigue the viewer, stimulate their imagination and curiosity, and can sometimes cause anxiety shrouded in the mystery of the house’s form. Providing things with a shape is the domain of architectural art. One can perceive the alchemy of the urban house’s architecture as the ability to evoke specific emotions through the compositional means and appropriately selected material. The aesthetic success depends primarily on the architect’s talent. The house belongs to a set of personal belongings, despite the externalisation of its form in the urban space. Every house is said to hide some secrets – these may be secrets confided to the building by its inhabitants – collections and family mementoes, stories, tales, traditions; they may also be the arcana of professions and crafts practised there.
Abstract:The paper constitutes an attempt at outlining the problem of the influence of the architectural form on urban space and its recognisability. The author discusses the problems associated with visual communication at the stage of both sending and receiving a visual message in the form of architecture. The perception of the solutions contained within an architectural form should constitute an understandable spatial message that is based on elements of the tradition and culture of a given area. This image should possess a distinct code which bestows upon it a specific character that shapes the identity of a place. This identity is constructed not only through the spatial solutions that have been implemented and made compatible with the surrounding context, but also through a distinct symbolism of the delivery of the message itself, as well as the creation of a new identity of a location.
Abstract:A city is composed of homes. The meaning of a home is theoretically the same for everyone, and yet there are differences in the specifics. Humans usually express their individuality, and strive to preserve it in space and time. The home is one of those forms of individually shaping the construction that makes up a city that allows this expression to occur. On the other hand, the more a diverse a city’s society is, and which causes its homes to become equally unique and diverse, the more it becomes interesting. Buildings cannot remain in a state of chaos, as the problem of the composition of a city is irreversibly tied with the composition of homes – the most basic element of a city. However, a city, every city, the composition of which is based on Mediterranean tradition, is not only encapsulated in the material body of its homes. In order for an urban composition to become complete, its constituent forms need to contain a transcendental element that expresses itself through D.O.M. Starting from the Rome of Jupiter, through Christian Rome, all the way to modernity, temples have always been an important part of a city. Homes and temples and all the other elements that make up a city, layered over the centuries, create an Eternal City, to which all roads lead. The Ark was also a house. Krakow is one of the beautiful examples of the cultivation of this tradition. The way to Rome may be very long and can lead through Lisbon. In this form, it remains in use.
Abstract:A building in a city has its urban position and this leads to its architectural programme and functional programme. However, there are objects standing beyond this classification.
Freestanding solitaires, corner buildings, frontage buildings and internal buildings are essential types of urban structure. After all, there are objects, which stay away of these categories and in classic urban doctrine, they damage a city order, but the contemporary tolerance must accept the objects as new houses, new crystallising focuses forming bridges to the new future city shape. We sense the disequilibrium of a composition as a disorder, but the majority of cities in the world have exactly this unbalanced composition, have they not? Indeed, we should accept exactly this composition as an order, or a new order, which testifies our tolerance and acceptance of a post-contemporary lifestyle.